Regional economic development: the numbers disagree with Conservatives' claims

    MONTREAL, Oct. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Pablo Rodriguez, Liberal candidate for
Honoré-Mercier, demonstrated today that the rosy picture that Conservatives
are trying to paint about their regional development record doesn,t stand up
to scrutiny.
    "Once again we see the Conservatives say one thing that is the exact
contrary of what the facts tell us. It's their usual mode of operation, but it
certainly doesn't add to their credibility nor reassure Canadians about the
way they're handling the economic storm brewing on the horizon", Mr Rodriguez
    Today Stephen Harper tried to make Canadians believe that the previous
Liberal government had cut funding destined to support economic development in
Quebec regions. However, public accounts numbers say exactly the opposite of
what Mr Harper is saying, Mr Rodriguez points out.
    "Since the Conservatives took power, the budget allocated to the Canada
Economic Development agency for the regions of Quebec has been significantly
cut. Federal support for regional development has melted by 35 % in Quebec,
which amounts to almost $ 157 millions less to spur Quebec's economy.
Meanwhile the American economy visibly weakens, and layoffs in the
manufacturing and forestry sectors keep piling up. Is that the course and his
minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn want Quebec to stay on?", Mr Rodriguez asks.
    Mr Rodriguez bases his evaluation of the Conservative on numbers
published in the Main Estimates of the Treasury Board:

           From annual Treasury Board Main Estimates ($ millions):

                 Western                        Regional
                Economic                      Development
              Development          ACOA          Quebec

    2004          $ 390           $ 477           $ 428
    2005          $ 392           $ 438           $ 444
    2006          $ 315           $ 382           $ 382
    2007          $ 253           $ 366           $ 395
    2008          $ 269           $ 328           $ 287

    Harper         -123          -109.7         -156.62

    Change         -31%           -25%            -35%

For further information:

For further information: Geneviève Boisvert, (514) 352-4443; Source:
PLCQ, (514) 381-8888

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